Orchard Project Impacts

Boys Home Residents

By some estimates, India has millions of children living on the streets, either alone or with their families. Rather than do nothing, Mukti decided to do something.

Over one hundred and thirty-five years ago, Mukti Mission saw the need and ran toward it. Mukti started reaching out across India when Pandita Ramabai brought in victims of the droughts in the late 1880s. This vision to expand their reach has continued through the twentieth and into the twenty-first centuries. Originally, these projects were called Expansion Homes, today we refer to them as Orchard Projects.

Each Orchard Project (OP) is named after a fruit or nut tree in India. We have done this to protect the privacy and security of the individuals enrolled and staffing these homes.

Some of the OPs are daycare centers where children attend for the day, receiving nutritious food, tutoring assistance, and hope (Naval Orange, Tamarind, Musk Melon, Kiwi). Five OPs are classified as Community Development Projects where food is distributed, career training is offered, tutoring assistance is given, and hope is restored (Apple, Grapefruit, Lemon, Jujube, Sugar Apple). The remaining eight OPs are residential homes where the children live 24/7 (Melon, Strawberry, Nutmeg, Banana, Almond, Starfruit, Nectarine, Sapodilla).

Over 800 girls and boys are cared for each day in residential settings, as well as daycare and food distribution locations. Each Orchard Project cares for boys and girls coming out of poverty where food and their futures are not assured.

There are seventeen Orchard Projects scattered across seven states of India, these projects care for children from extreme poverty, children of day laborers, and children Most@RISK from trafficking issues – among others. In 2023 there are over 800 children enrolled in Mukti Mission Orchard Projects. All responsibilities for operation, staffing, and care are borne by Mukti.

Resident Girls - Orchard Projects

The first Orchard Project was opened over thirty years ago and fifteen boys began a new life. Today, those original fifteen have grown up and are gainfully employed in various government, tech, pharmaceutical, and social roles.

The most recent OP opened is Sapodilla with fifty children living in a residential setting.

Currently, a new property has been purchased and completed where the Melon Boys home moved from a rental property to its current location, a newly expanded property. Twenty-five boys now call this new OP (Lantana) home. The Strawberry Girls home will also be moving and we expect completion of their home and occupancy by Spring 2024. Their new home is called Nimboo (Lemon).

Your investments in OP allow Mukti Mission to operate these homes for over 800 children, and to open new homes.

Lantana Boys

A Historical First – Provided by YOU!

The first expansion home (Orchard Project) was opened in 1993 as a pilot project for local tribal boys and girls. (This home is referred to as Nutmeg) Currently, there are 73 boys and 52 girls between the ages of 6 to 18 in this residential home.

Home activity starts at 5:30 am when the children share devotions, followed by house cleaning activities. They attend school from noon until 5:00 pm, with a cooked lunch provided. After school, they play, do homework, are provided with a cooked dinner at 7:30 pm, study to close out their day, and then their bedtime at 9:30 pm. (This is a typical schedule for all of Mukti’s residential homes)

Nutmeg was started because the area is known as a sensitive part of India – due to extreme poverty, alcoholism, illiteracy, and the harsh schemes of rich landlords and money lenders.

In the Orchard Project: Nutmeg, a few children are orphans, while some come from single-parent families, all come from poor families. They are very much attached to their tribal traditions. The children’s parents work very hard and are mainly farm laborers and woodcutters. They are exploited by money lenders who have taken advantage of their poverty and made them bonded laborers from generation to generation.

The significant highlight and outcome of this Orchard Project are that the children are educated to the post-graduation level. Currently, 4 children, now adults, are working in the Government service. The impact the project has accomplished can be seen in a significant decrease in crime, alcoholism, and family violence, and a rise in nutritional levels. This has led to better health, improved maternal and baby health, general health, and hygiene practices.

The goal of Mukti is to develop a network of Orchard Project homes that will provide safety, security, and a future. Educational resources are provided through schooling, tutoring, and the care of concerned adults. Many of the children in these homes come from situations where trafficking puts them at great risk. Mukti has four homes dedicated to children Most@RISK.